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Teachers no longer ICT troubleshooters

Teachers should no longer have to fix computers or determine their school's ICT needs.

The Department for Education and Skills (DFES) has sent heads a list of routine tasks that should be delegated to support staff to reduce the workload on teachers. Two of those tasks are "ICT trouble shooting and minor repairs" and "commissioning new ICT equipment".

Schools where ICT co-ordinators or teachers are still expected to perform routine technical maintenance such as unjamming printers and repairing damaged machines will have to employ a technician or provide training for classroom assistants to comply with the guidance.

Primary schools are more likely to be affected than secondaries, many of which already employ technicians to keep networks and computers operational. Tim Benson, head of Nelson primary in East Ham, East London, and president of the National Association of Head Teachers' ICT committee, said the guidance was "very sensible".

His local education authority, Newham, had attempted to solve the problem by employing a pool of technicians whose services schools bought back. It costs Benson about pound;6,000 a year to have a technician on site for two days a week. On the website, the DFES has defined three levels of "skill sets" for those involved in ICT support roles. They have been accepted by the e-skills national training organisation and will be used by awarding bodies to create a set of qualifications: "ICT co-ordinators should welcome the extra provision that schools are making to ensure their technical support is fully supportive of the school's overall objectives," a DFES spokesman said.

A public consultation on the STRB report will run until July 3.

Chris Johnston

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